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Thousands of bedroom tax victims fail to pay rent

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Two thirds of households affected by the bedroom tax cannot find the money to pay their rent, according to research from the National Housing Federation (NHF).

It said the policy of cutting benefits for social sector tenants with extra bedrooms was “heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families”.

An Ipsos MORI survey of 183 housing associations found that 66% of their residents hit by the bedroom tax are in rent arrears. More than a third (38%) were in debt because they were unable to pay the bedroom tax – equivalent to 72,000 housing association tenants, the report said.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: “You can argue over what to call the policy, but there is no disputing the impact that the bedroom tax is having across the country. It is heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families, pushing them into arrears. Now many are at risk of being evicted because they simply can’t find the extra money to pay their rent.

“These people have done nothing wrong. The Government has suddenly changed the rules and given them a false choice: move to a smaller home or pay. Yet we know there aren’t enough smaller homes in England for these families to move into.”

The NHF said around 413,000 people in England are affected by the bedroom tax. An estimated two-thirds of them are disabled, according to Government figures.

Orr said: “Housing associations are doing all they can to avoid evicting residents, but as not-for-profit organisations they can’t simply write-off unpaid rent. From day one we have said the bedroom tax is unfair, unworkable and just bad policy. It’s putting severe pressure on thousands of the nation’s poorest people and must be repealed.”

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